NFSA lab dysfunctional since June 2023, IHC told

Sources say 877 drug cases are pending due to lack of forensic analysis

Our Correspondent June 01, 2024


The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday was informed that the National Forensic Science Agency (NFSA) laboratory had been inactive since June 2023. The disclosure came during the hearing in a narcotics-related case.

Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, who was hearing the case, summoned the Interior Secretary, the Islamabad police chief and the NFSA head in a personal capacity in the next hearing.

The court also ordered the Prosecutor General, the Advocate General Islamabad, the Additional Attorney General and the Chief Commissioner to appear in person.

In a written order, the court stated that the case related to the recovery of 4,744 grams of hashish was registered on November 25, 2023, but the NFSA’s report had yet to be submitted.

The investigating officer (IO) told the court that the NFSA was reminded several times. According to an NFSA report, the project has been inactive since June 30, 2023, because of the paucity of funds. The salaries of the employees have not been paid for 10 months and that the laboratory has also run out of material used for forensic analysis.

The NFSA report further revealed that as many 877 as drug cases were pending due to the lack of forensic analysis so it was not possible to assess the recovered drugs without forensic analysis.

The order further stated that without the NFSA report, the accused couldn’t be granted bail, nor could they be kept in jail indefinitely. “The NFSA's inaction is benefitting those involved in drug trafficking. Drug peddlers are able to secure bail because of the absence of the NFSA report.

The court adjourned the hearing till June 6.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2024.


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